chapter 12

Product Photography Glossary

360-Degree Photography - Also known as virtual reality photography, 360-degree photography is an interactive image format that offers a 360-degree panoramic view. In the context of product photos, it stitches many photos together into a short animation in which the product does a full rotation. It can also let the viewer spin the product using a mouse, allowing the consumer to see the item from all angles.

A/B Testing - A/B testing, also known as split testing, is comparing two versions of an image, ad or website by presenting them to a similar audience in the same time frame and observing which one performs better.

Alpha Channels - 32-bit images contain four channels. Three RGB 8-bit channels for red, green, and blue, and one 8-bit alpha channel reserved to store transparency information. Alpha channels are used in post-processing when combining digital images. For example, when you make the background of an image transparent and then insert background from a different image.

Alt Text - An attribute of a digital image that describes what the image contains. It’s purpose is to describe the image to users with accessibility issues and to appear on the web page if the image fails to load. Also, search engines use Alt text to better understand what an image and web page are about and rank it accordingly.

Artificial Lighting - A combination of usually electric light fixtures used to deliver aesthetic effects in a photography or video recording studio.

Backdrop - A cloth or paper surface hung behind an object as a background or setting during a photo shoot.

Backlight - A light that illuminates the object of the photo shoot from behind.

Boomerang Images - Images stitched together from many photos into a mini-animation similar to GIF animations.

Branding - The promotion of your product or company using distinctive design and graphic elements.

CC0 license - A license that dedicates a work to the public domain waiving all copyrights and related rights.

Cinemagraphs - Still images in which a minor repeated animation occurs, usually published as a GIF.

Color Correction - The altering of the overall color theme of an image using photo editing software like Photoshop. It is measured on a scale known as color temperature.

Color Palette - The range of colors that an image format can use. For example, a GIF’s color palette is 256 colors.

Composition - The way an image and the objects in it are arranged or composed.

Compression - For image file formats, compression means encoding the file in such way that the file is smaller in size. Compression can be lossless, where the image quality stays the same and the reduction in the file size is minimal, or lossy, where the image quality is degraded and the file size is reduced significantly

Conversion - The act of converting a website visitor into a paying or subscribing customer.

Cropping - Cutting out the edges of an image for stylistic purposes.

Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) - A web page written in HTML that defines the look of the graphic and text elements on a website. You can set the background color, font size, font color, button sizes, etc.

Curves Adjustment Layer (Photoshop) - Curves is Photoshop’s most powerful tool to adjust tones like brightness and contrast. Adjustment Layers are tools used to change an image without permanently altering its pixels. You can make a change with an Adjustment Layer and later delete the layer and restore the original image.

Diffuser - A device or fixture that helps distribute the light from a light source evenly, reducing its harshness and hard shadows.

Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera - A kind of camera that combines the optics of a single-lens camera with a digital imaging sensor, as opposed to photographic film.

Fill Light - Any supplementary light in a photography setup that is used to soften shadows.

Eyedropper (Photoshop) - A tool used to sample colors from an image. Once you take a sample, you can further use the color.

Eye-tracking - A technology for monitoring eye movements as a way to see how people interact with web pages or online documents.

Flat Lay - A way of photographing objects on a flat surface without props.

Focal Length - The distance between the object of focus and the center of the lens.

Key Light - The main source of light in a photography or film setup.

Lightbox - A box-shaped tent with side walls made of translucent fabric or plastic that help to evenly distribute the light around the object of photography.

Marketing Channels - A way you reach your customers with your product or service. In ecommerce, these can be your online store, social media, blog posts, email, etc.

Metadata - A set of information fields used to describe your web page or image. These fields can include title, description, keywords, and alt text.

Minify (Minification) - A term used by programmers for removing all the unnecessary data from a page’s code or a file without altering its functionality or quality.

Natural Lighting - The light from the sun. In product photography, it refers to harnessing or manipulating daylight to take photos indoors.

Pen Tool (Photoshop) - A tool that creates vector paths that can define complex shapes that are very scalable. The paths can be transformed into selections of pixels that can be copied or deleted.

Post-processing - Editing or retouching images after a photo shoot to add effects, filters, or remove imperfections.

Reflector - A flat screen made of cloth or paper (usually white or another light color) that is used to reflect light around an object to soften shadows.

Remarketing/Retargeting - A marketing strategy that uses data gathered about your store visitors to define them and advertise to them in a more personalized way.

Retention Rate - The percentage of your customers who are continuing to purchase products from your store within a certain time frame.

RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) - A system for representing colors on a computer screen. Red, green and blue can be combined in varying degrees to obtain any color on the visible spectrum.

Rule of Thirds - A composition rule suggesting dividing the image into three (or nine) parts both vertically and horizontally. You can then use this grid to place your object somewhere other than the center for interesting results.

Saturation - The intensity or density of the colors used. For example, cobalt blue is more saturated than sky blue.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - A set of prescribed practices for how to create online content that ranks better in online search results. SEO helps bring free organic traffic to your site and is widely used by brands and websites.

Threshold Adjustment Layer (Photoshop) - Through the Threshold dialog, you can adjust the amount of black and white in an image. Adjustment Layers are tools used to change an image without permanently altering its pixels. You can make a change with an Adjustment Layer and later delete the layer and restore the original image.


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13. Product Photography Checklist

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